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6 killed in Yemen military parade attack

6 killed in Yemen military parade attack
Medics said the army’s deputy chief of staff and the governor of Lahj province were wounded in the attack.
Al-Anad Air Base (Yemen), Jan 10 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/10/2019 10:42:20 AM IST

A rebel drone hit Yemen’s largest air base Thursday, killing six loyalist soldiers during a military parade in an attack which threatens to hamper UN-led peace efforts.

According to AFP, at talks in Sweden last month, the UN brokered several agreements between Huthi rebels and the Saudi-backed government seen as the best chance of ending nearly four years of devastating conflict. The Shiite Huthi rebels said they carried out the strike on Al-Anad air base, in government-held Lahij province some 60 kilometres north of Yemen’s second city Aden. At least 12 people were wounded, including top commanders, according to medics at Ibn Khaldoun hospital in the provincial capital Huta.

Footage of the attack showed a drone exploding over a podium around which dozens of military personnel were standing.

Soldiers scrambled to carry wounded comrades to military vehicles, while a man holding a camera bled on the ground. An AFP correspondent at the scene said journalists were among the wounded.

Yemen’s deputy chief of staff Saleh al-Zandani, intelligence Brigadier General Saleh Tamah and senior army commander Fadel Hasan were among the wounded, along with Lahij governor Ahmad Abdullah al-Turki, doctors at Ibn Khaldoun hospital told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Chief of staff General Abdullah al-Nakhi was also at the base at the time of the attack, a pro-government official said. He was not named among the casualties. The attack came one day after UN envoy Martin Griffiths warned “substantial progress” was needed on the ground before full-blown negotiations could be launched on ending the civil war. The strike on loyalist top brass is likely to create a new obstacle to the launch of formal peace talks.

Yemeni Information Minister Moammer al-Eryani said the attack was “a strong blow” to the UN’s peace efforts. “The Huthi militia does not believe in the language of peace and knows nothing but killing and terror,” he tweeted.

The Huthis said the attack was “in response to the enemies’ continuous air raids”, in a statement carried by the rebels’ Al-Masirah TV. In last month’s talks, the warring sides agreed truce deals for the key rebel-held aid port of Hodeida and battleground third city Taez. Griffiths told the UN Security Council that both parties in the Yemen war had “largely adhered to the ceasefire and there has been a significant decrease in hostilities”.

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